Slinging a smooth stone
by C.F. David, Editor
For the second time since 1990, a likeness of legendary film star John Wayne will grace a postage stamp.
Although a release date has not yet been chosen, the U.S. Postal Service announced the honor on April 3.
A black and white studio still of John Wayne as Tom Doniphon in the 1962 Western The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance , will be on the stamp.
It is an odd choice since with that role John Wayne turned his back on many of the “standards” of movie stardom. For those unfamiliar with the movie, Wayne began the film as a homeless dead man. In flashbacks we learn that: John Wayne didn't get the girl, (Vera Miles). He lost the girl to (Heaven forbid), an Easterner, (James Stewart) and what's more he had to violate his own code of ethics so Stewart's character might live and get the girl. (Miles by the way, was born in Cimarron County.) I can remember no other John Wayne movie where he played such a character.
The “Duke” will join other Hollywood legends such as Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Humphrey Bogart, Alfred Hitchcock, James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson, Lucille Ball, Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn in being honored with their own stamps. For those of you too young to remember any or all of the above named stars, I recommend you check them out on Turner Classic Movies, OETA, a video store or Amazon.com.
These were multi-talented individuals who could, and in some cases have, put what passes for contemporary talent to shame one-on-one.
For the most part, during Hollywood's “Golden Age” if you had a singer who became an actor, they were trained for months or years before we ever saw them on the screen. Unlike today where Brittany Spears is pushed into a starring role with the weight of her name alone. It's an “all for the dollar” routine of modern Hollywood that isn't fair to the artist or customer.
As a director, Alfred Hitchcock could terrify you by filming blood spiraling down a shower drain in black-and-white film. Quenton Taratino are you listening?
Like us, none of them was perfect. For instance, Wayne has seven children from several different marriages. Dean, was a talented young man who had his life snuffed out much too soon in a traffic accident. He battled his demons with alcohol and drugs. Marilyn's life ended at I believe age 36; despondent some say, over fading beauty. A beauty stunted by alcohol and prescription drugs.
I am sure in this age of protest and political correctness, someone, an American Indian, or perhaps somebody with an axe to grind over “Big John's” conservative agendas, will complain about his selection. But warts and all, and even though many of his contemporaries were more gifted, no list of Hollywood legends would be complete without the man who gave us Singing Sandy, The Ringo Kid, Hondo and Rooster Cogburn.
The word for the day is bona fide.